Veteran Political Cartoonist Mike Thompson Talks 2016 Elections and His Changing Industry

Mike Thompson is a political cartoonist for the Detroit Free Press, and talks with Stephen Henderson about the qualities needed for the job.

It’s a combination of skills.  You have to be able draw, you have to understand politics, you have to have something to say, and a sense of humor.”  One of the challenges, he says, is “How do you come up with something new unique and clever about what is fundamentally the same old story, and it can’t be something you’ve said before or something someone else has said before.”

Creating cartoons about a variety of different issues requires a bit of finesse, Thompson says, “Sometimes you can be very biting and powerful, and other issues call for a lighter touch…but generally humor is the sugar that makes the medicine go down.”

Overall though, the most important part is the concept, “The idea drives the cartoon.  A good drawing is not going to save a bad idea.”

Thompson will join Henderson as well as WDET’s Pat Batcheller and Jake Neher at Smart Politics Happy Hour at Atwater in Park in Grosse Pointe Park Thursday from 6-8pm. They’ll speak with listeners about the Michigan issues that matter most to them. Come ask questions you want answered when WDET interviews policy makers, politicians and business leaders at the Mackinac Policy Conference in May.

Click the audio link above to hear the entire conversation.


Image credit: Rev. Jay Goldstein

This post is a part of 2016 Elections: Issues & Candidates.

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